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The rebrand nobody asked for | Stop Scrolling

We need to rebrand the rebrand. Everyone is reinventing themselves, pretending to be something different rather than just becoming different themselves. 

Coastal cowgirl, clean girl, mob wife, coquette, dark academia, indie, old money and more have become interchangeable labels used online for everyone to describe themselves and announce new personas.

Annika Morris | Senior Graphic Artist

There is youthful fun in playing this adult form of dress up, but it is ignorant to assume upon announcing a rebrand that anyone with this new style will change in reality. 

Announcing to everyone online that you are in your “clean girl era” or gutting out your wardrobe to make room for your “coastal cowgirl” summer essentials means nothing.

Even though a rebrand is fundamentally an image change, nobody’s image on social media is consistent for long enough that a rebrand leaves any impact. 

When someone is consistently themselves, online users, including myself, look forward to the moment when this identity changes and we can offer our unsolicited opinions. 

Jojo Siwa has projected her colorful and bedazzled side ponytail, energetic and juvenile identity since her debut on “Dance Moms”  back in 2015. Siwa is now 20 years old and has decided it is time to rebrand. 

Her way of going about this rebrand, however, has been to dress in the same way she always had but with more edge to promote the debut of her new song “Karma.” 

This almost decade-long image that Siwa had curated was lazily recrafted into one that resembles the members of Kiss, and now cannot be changed. Her new single is also difficult to listen to, and the music video is even more difficult to watch. 

Siwa’s rebrand was not flawed because it was impossible, but because it felt forced and unnecessary. Siwa’s face paint, clothing, daily countdown on Instagram, new chains and overall attitude seemed calculated in a way that portrays her as a new artist. 

Perhaps she has grown out of her old image behind the scenes, but the key to a good rebrand is to simply evolve and highlight the natural differences for the camera. There is no need for the theatrics or to claim that you are creating a new genre of music called “gay pop” — an insulting and an embarrassing take. 

A great way to show how you have changed is to simply exist as this proclaimed older, more experienced self. Style or opinions can evolve alongside a person, but should not be flaunted as a means to draw attention to the idea that someone has changed. 

This bad rebrand is simply a product of the time online that we exist in, but the corrosiveness of the “rebrand” did not have to limit Siwa’s. 

Addison Rae Easterling, known online as Addison Rae, takes the cake for best recent rebrand. When she first gained popularity in 2020, Easterling was well received for her style, dances and character that matched other TikTok stars at the time. 

In recent years, she has stopped conforming to what TikTok momentarily loves, and embraced the individual she has evolved into. Easterling is also releasing new music, but is far more subtle with her upcoming projects and new style. 

She is still posting as usual, without emphasizing her transformation and with time, the internet has embraced her rebrand and loves her for it. On the contrary, Siwa is changing her online image and pushing content to her followers or anyone that will listen.

Both artists can very well be equally authentic to their character with the persona portrayed online, but Easterling was able to organically thrive under the harsh lights of the internet, while Siwa seems to be caught up in describing how she will grow.

Everyone is rebranding themselves and self-appointing titles or characteristics that will follow this change. On social media, mystery is far more alluring than explanation. Nobody wants to be told what they are looking at or for the flow of someone’s timeline to feel performative. 

Labeling yourself online is limiting and undermines any community or good reception that you may seek out. Authentically using social media to portray a rebrand rather than describe one is far more rewarding. 

We have sensationalized the art of the rebrand, and have ultimately desensitized ourselves to how an individual’s rebrand actually plays out — naturally.

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